Blogger quizzed over web slander

A POPULAR Bahraini blogger has been questioned by police after publishing an article on his website criticising Municipalities and Agriculture Minister Mansoor bin Rajab.

Mahmood Al Yousif told the GDN he was summoned to the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), Adliya, yesterday to answer questions about the blog and will appear at the Public Prosecution today.

He is to be questioned about an article he wrote that described Mr Rajab as “an insignificant member of the previous Shura Council”.

It was posted on his website called Mahmood’s Den.

The blogger also criticised the minister’s and his department’s response to heavy rains, which caused flooding throughout the country in December.

Mr Al Yousif told the GDN he wrote the column based on comments Mr Bin Rajab had made in an article that appeared on an Arabic newspaper shortly after the country’s elections.

“He claims that I have hurt his feelings and have besmirched his reputation because of an article I printed about him on December 22,” he said.

“I have to present myself to the Public Prosecutor to answer some questions and they will decide if the case is warranted to be brought against me.”

However, despite the legal action taken against him, Mr Al Yousif said he was not worried.

“It is laughable trying to eradicate criticism in such a heavy handed fashion,” he said.

“I think it is making a mountain out of an insignificant molehill.”

Mr Al Yousif claimed he was only writing as a concerned citizen and said if every high profile public figure reacted to criticism in the same way, the courts would be full of such cases.

This is not the first time Mr Al Yousif has courted controversy.

His site was one of several blocked “for a few days” in October by the Information Ministry for publishing articles relating to the controversial Bandargate report.

Mr Bin Rajab, who previously held the post of Shura Council second vice-chairman, was yesterday unavailable for comment.
GDN :: 8 Feb, ’07

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